Posts Tagged ‘Citrix’

Jobs

February 25th, 2012

I receive a lot of communication from recruiters, some of which I’m allowed to share, so I’ve decided to try something.  On the Jobs page, I’ll pass along virtualization and cloud centric opportunities – mostly US based but in some cases throughout the globe.  Only recruiter requests will be posted.  I won’t syndicate content easily found on the various job boards.  If you’re currently on the bench or looking for a new challenge, you may find it here.  Don’t tell them Jason sent you.  I receive no financial gain or benefit otherwise but I thought I could do something with these opportunities other than deleting them.  Best of luck in your search.

In case you missed the link, the Jobs page.

View Pool And Desktop Hung in Deleting State

February 7th, 2012

The VMware View 5.0 environment in the lab has been running well and has proven itself as an extremely reliable remote access replacement for the old Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 solution I had in the past.  However, in an effort to address a licensing issue related to the View App for iPad demo environment, I managed to force both a pool and a single desktop from within that pool into a perpetually stuck state of ‘deleting’.  In addition, the VM representing the desktop was gone, but I could see from within vCenter the parent replica for the pool still remained.  I spent some time poking at it from several angles including the View Connection Server, the vCenter Server, and the View Composer Server.  It became clear that the underlying issue was deeper, in a database perhaps, and couldn’t be resolved using the standard management tools VMware offers.

The issue isn’t an uncommon one and I quickly turned up familiar hits at VMware’s community forums spanning a few different versions of VMware View.  The root cause is explained in VMware KB Article 1008658 which applies to View versions 3.x through 5.2.x (this KB article also walks through the steps of manually deleting pae-VMs from the ADAM database as well as manually deleting dubious SVI_rows from various tables in the View Composer database as necessary).  Also see Manually deleting linked clones or stale virtual desktop entries from VMware View Manager 4.5 and later at VMware KB 2015112 (which uses the SviConfig.exe View Composer utility and is linked from KB 1008658):

This issue occurs if a table in the database has an incorrect data. It can also occur if the virtual machine name has been changed in the vCenter Server manually after the pool has been created, causing View Composer and vCenter Server to refer to the same virtual machine with different names.

The problem can largely be avoided by managing the View environment with the intended tool – the VMware View Administrator interface as opposed to making changes outside of View, such as using VMware vCenter.

SnagIt Capture SnagIt Capture

Resolving the issue is achieved by following the detailed in the KB articles above.  Follow the steps carefully and slowly in a production View environment and keep in mind that not all steps may be required for your particular situation.

StarWind Releases iSCSI SAN Software Enhanced by VM Backup Technology

January 17th, 2012

Press Release:

New StarWind iSCSI SAN v5.8 and Hyper Backup Plug-in are a New Level of Data Protection

SnagIt CaptureBurlington, MA – January 13, 2012StarWind Software Inc., an innovative provider of SAN software for iSCSI storage and VM Backup technology, today announced the release of new StarWind iSCSI SAN v5.8 and Hyper-V Backup Plug-in. The iSCSI SAN software is enhanced by the powerful VM Backup technology that is included as a plug-in.

Backup plug-in is built specifically for Hyper-V-based environments to provide fast backup and restore for Hyper-V virtual machines. The backup solution delivered by StarWind performs all operations on the Hyper-V host level thus it requires no backup agents to be installed on virtual machines (Agentless Architecture).

Hyper-V Backup Plug-in makes fast backups and allows quick, reliable restore of both virtual machines and individual files. It utilizes advanced technologies for maximum disk space saving (Global Deduplication). This backup tool is integrated with StarWind Centralized Management Console that enables managing backup and storage from a single window.

Additionally, a new version of HA plug-in is presented in StarWind iSCSI SAN v5.8 that allows use of raw basic images to create HA targets. A new replication engine based on own technology instead of MS iSCSI transport creates higher performance and reliability. This new engine permits use of multiple network interfaces for synchronization and heartbeat.

To simplify the replacement of equipment and recovery of fatal failures, StarWind Software has implemented the ability to change the partner node to any other StarWind server without any downtime and on the fly. Synchronization engine is improved, and this version allows both nodes to sync automatically even in the case of a full blackout of both servers.

“With the release of StarWind iSCSI SAN v5.8 our company is happy to provide our customers with highly available storage and fast backup software developed by the same vendor,” said Artem Berman, Chief Executive Officer of StarWind Software. “Now small and medium-sized companies have an opportunity to achieve higher performance and absolute data protection.”

About StarWind Software Inc.
StarWind Software is a global leader in storage management and SAN software for small and midsize companies. StarWind’s flagship product is SAN software that turns any industry-standard Windows Server into a fault-tolerant, fail-safe iSCSI SAN. StarWind iSCSI SAN is qualified for use with VMware, Hyper-V, XenServer and Linux and Unix environments. StarWind Software focuses on providing small and midsize companies with affordable, highly availability storage technology which previously was only available in high-end storage hardware. Advanced enterprise-class features in StarWind include Automated HA Storage Node Failover and Failback (High Availability), Replication across a WAN, CDP and Snapshots, Thin Provisioning and Virtual Tape management.

Since 2003, StarWind has pioneered the iSCSI SAN software industry and is the solution of choice for over 30,000 customers worldwide in more than 100 countries and from small and midsize companies to governments and Fortune 1000 companies.

For more information on StarWind Software Inc., visit: www.starwindsoftware.com

HotLink Launches Latest Version of HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware

December 14th, 2011

I don’t publish the majority of the press releases which make their way to my inbox but I took a quick look at HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware and what it does is interesting.  Watch the video below (feel free to expand to full screen to see the detail) and see how this product is able to pull in various Type 1 hypervisors in a heterogeneous datacenter under the vCenter management umbrella.  By now you know VMware isn’t the only player in the hypervisor business.  VMware’s competitors have been making their presence known.  They remain persistent partly because of their gradual market penetration.  And I’ll be the first to admit that the other hypervisors out there are the right fit for some business use cases and requirements.  Also, multi vendor policies are not uncommon in large organizations.  Whatever the reason, deploying different makes and models of hypervisors in an environment is your business.  Managing them with ease is HotLink’s business.  Read on.

Press Release:

HotLink Launches Latest Version of HotLink SuperVISOR™ for VMware

Leading enterprises including McAfee and BMC Software adopt HotLink SuperVISOR to seamlessly manage mixed hypervisors inside VMware vCenter console

SnagIt CaptureSUNNYVALE, Calif. – December 15, 2011HotLink® Corporation, the market leader in transformation solutions for heterogeneous virtualization management, today announced the newest release of its flagship product, HotLink SuperVISOR™ for VMware. HotLink SuperVISOR is the first and only solution to enable VMware vCenter users to natively manage cross-platform virtual infrastructure spanning Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (KVM). The latest release, HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware 1.2, adds new capabilities focused on enterprise robustness, scalability, configuration and management of multi-hypervisors and workloads.

With its latest release, HotLink customers benefit from an enhanced virtual integration platform that provides total control and performance visibility across all enterprise hypervisors, using the VMware vCenter management console they already have. The new features of HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware 1.2 include:

  • Enhanced Networking Configuration – Users can now provision and modify virtual switches and network adapters from VMware vCenter and associate these to any enterprise hypervisor —enabling users to manage heterogeneous virtual networking from a single interface.
  • Expanded Performance Monitoring – The latest release expands the heterogeneous performance statistics and alerts that are gathered and displayed inside the native VMware vCenter performance tab —allowing administrators to quickly identify issues across the mixed hypervisor environment.
  • Robust Configuration of Virtual Machine Settings – Only HotLink provides the ability to modify the configuration of virtual machine settings such as virtual CPUs and memory assignments natively inside vCenter and apply across all virtual platforms —ensuring the optimum VM configuration regardless of the hypervisor.

“Enterprise IT needs are rapidly evolving as an increasing number of VMware shops are deploying heterogeneous hypervisor environments. Administrators need a single management console that provides a comprehensive view and complete control of all enterprise workloads,” said Lynn LeBlanc, CEO and founder of HotLink. “The latest enhancements to HotLink SuperVISOR extend the VMware vCenter management infrastructure to provide sophisticated and robust management capabilities to Hyper-V, XenServer and KVM – unifying the management of all virtual workloads inside VMware vCenter.”

As virtual infrastructure deployments expand and mature, heterogeneity is being fueled by a combination of economics and maturing of hypervisor alternatives. The most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure report included, for the first time, both Citrix and Microsoft alongside VMware in the leaders quadrant. Moreover, Hyper-V grew 62 percent last year compared to ESX’s 21 percent growth and Citrix’s 25 percent, according to IDC. While the proliferation of multiple virtual platforms is accelerating, streamlined infrastructure is needed to unify management. That’s exactly what the latest release of HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware addresses.

“McAfee historically was an all VMware shop, but our business needs have changed so that we now have a mix of vSphere, Hyper-V and XenServer.  Utilizing HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware across our virtual environment enables us to increase our usage of other hypervisor platforms while unifying management. By deploying multiple hypervisors and standardizing on VMware vCenter as our primary management interface, we expect to reduce our virtualization cost by over 50 percent and admin costs by 65 percent over the next 3 years,” said Mark Tonnesen, CIO of McAfee. “The foundation of our multi-hypervisor environment is built on the HotLink SuperVISOR platform.”

With the new HotLink SuperVISOR technology, enterprises can tier their virtual infrastructure with cost-effective hypervisors and still unify the management, significantly reducing their licensing and operating costs. With HotLink SuperVISOR, customers can realize the benefits of mixed hypervisors while avoiding overly complicated management systems.

“Like many other IT shops, we are investigating the use of multiple hypervisors to cost effectively support development and test activities for our Tier 2 and Tier 3 business applications. We have been very impressed by HotLink’s SuperVISOR technology and the hypervisor interoperability that it enables.  We believe that HotLink will enable us to optimize the use of specific hypervisors for individual workloads without compromising our ability to manage our overall virtual environment,” said Mark Settle, CIO of BMC Software.

Pricing and Availability

HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware 1.2 is available now with pricing starting at $25,000. For more information, contact sales@hotlink.com or visit www.hotlink.com.

Supporting Resources

Follow HotLink on:

About HotLink Corporation

Founded in early 2010 by data center software veterans and the founders of FastScale Technology, Inc. (acquired by VMware), HotLink Corporation is on a mission to transform real-world IT with the first true heterogeneous data center system management platform for virtual, cloud and physical computing infrastructure. Early customers include enterprise IT organizations spanning technology, financial services, telecommunications and Internet search. HotLink’s advisory board includes visionary leaders from Informatica, Facebook, E*TRADE, Clorox, Citrix, BMC and Flextronics.  HotLink is a privately held, venture capital backed company based in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, visit www.hotlink.com.

Tolly Group releases another Citrix vs. VMware comparison

April 15th, 2009

A few months ago, The Tolly Group released a report comparing Citrix and VMware VDI solutions.

They’re at it again. Today, The Tolly Group released another comparison. Today’s report compares Citrix XenServer 5 and VMware ESX 3.5.0 Update 3 with Citrix XenApp as the workload.

Citrix Systems commissioned Tolly to evaluate the performance of Citrix XenApp when running on Citrix XenServer 5 and compare that with XenApp running on VMware ESX 3.5u3.

Testing focused on system scalability and user quality-of-experience. This test report was approved for publication by VMware. The VMware End User License Agreement (EULA) requires such approval.

The testing was conducted in accordance with Tolly Common RFP #1101, Virtual Server Performance.

Summary of Results:

* Citrix XenServer 5 outperforms VMware ESX 3.5 by 41% in user scalability tests.
* XenApp, running on XenServer, retains a consistent user experience as load is increased to 164 users.
* Virtualizing 32-bit XenApp gives IT administrators a viable approach to increasing total user density on physical servers, without the need to re-certify their existing applications and drivers for a 64-bit platform.
* Consolidating XenApp farms on XenServer results in data center reliability benefits and cost savings.

Click here to download the report. You will need to register for the report download.

Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI)

March 8th, 2009

I’m mildly excited for the upcoming week. If all goes well, I’ll be upgrading to AMD Opteron processors which support a virtualization assist technology called Rapid Virtualization Indexing (or RVI for short).

There is overhead introduced in VMware virtualization via the virtual machine monitor (VMM) and comes in three forms:

  1. Virtualization of the CPU (using software based binary translation or BT for short)
  2. Virtualization of the MMU (using software based shadow paging)
  3. Virtualization of the I/O devices (using software based device emulation)

RVI is found in AMD’s second generation of virtualization hardware support and it incorporates MMU (Memory Management Unit) virtualization. This new technology is designed to eliminate traditional software based shadow paging methods for MMU virtualization thereby reducing the overhead in bullet #2 above. VMware lab tests show that RVI provides performance gains of up to 42% for MMU-intensive benchmarks and up to 500% for MMU-intensive microbenchmarks.

How it works:

Software based shadow page tables store information about the guest VM’s physical memory location on the host. The VMM had to intercept guest VM page table updates to keep guest page tables and shadow page tables in sync. By now you can probably see where this is going: applications and VMs which had frequent guest page table updates were not as efficient as those with less frequent guest page table updates.

The above is similar to guest VM kernel mode calls/context switching to access CPU ring 0. Previously, the architecture wouldn’t allow it directly via the hardware so the VMKernel had to intercept these calls and hand-hold each and every ring 0 transaction. Throw 10,000+ ring 0 system calls at the VMKernel per second and the experience starts to become noticeably slower. Both Intel and AMD resolved this issue specifically for virtualized platforms by introducing a ring -1 (a pseudo ring 0) which guest VMs will be able to access directly.

VMware introduced support for RVI in ESX 3.5.0. RVI eliminates MMU related overhead in the VMM by relying on the technology built into the newer RVI capable processors to determine the physical location of guest memory by walking an extra level of page tables maintained by the VMM. RVI is AMD’s nested page table technology. The Intel version of the technology is called Extended Page Tables (EPT) and is expected sometime this year.

One of the applications of RVI that interests me directly is Citrix XenApp (Presentation Server). XenApp receives a direct performance benefit from RVI because it is an MMU-intensive workload. VMware’s conclusion in lab testing was that XenApp performance increased by approximately 29% using RVI. By way of the performance increase, we can increase the number of concurrent users on each virtualized XenApp box. There are two wins here: We increase our consolidation ratios on XenApp and we reduce the aggregate number of XenApp boxes we have to manage due to more densely populated XenApp servers. This is great stuff!

There is a caveat. VMware observed some memory access latency increases for a few workloads, however, they tell us there is a workaround. Use large pages in the guest and the hypervisor to reduce the stress on the Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB). VMware recommends that TLB-intensive workloads make extensive use of large pages to mitigate the higher cost of a TLB miss. For optimal performance, the ESX VMM and VMKernel aggressively try to use large pages for their own memory when RVI is used.

For more information and deeper technical jibber jabber, please see VMware’s white paper Performance of Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI). Something to note is that all testing was performed on ESX 3.5.0 Update 2 with 64 bit guest VMs. I give credit to this document for the information provided in this blog post, including two directly quoted sentences.

For some more good reading, take a look at Duncan Epping’s experience with a customer last week involving MMU, RVI, and memory over commit.

Putting some money where my VMware mouth is

February 15th, 2009

I came home this afternoon from a Valentines Day wedding in North Dakota to find that my one and only workstation in the house (other than the work laptop) had a belated Valentines Day present for me:  It would no longer boot up.  No Windows.  No POST.  No video signal.  No beep codes.

DSC00473

I was feeling adventurous and I needed a relatively quick and inexpensive fix.  I decided to take one of the thin clients I received from Chip PC via VMworld 2008 plus a freshly deployed Windows XP template on the Virtual Infrastructure and promote this VDI solution to main household workstation status for the next few weeks.  The timing on this could not have been better.  The upcoming Minnesota VMUG on Wednesday March 11th is going to be VDI focused.  I guess I’ll have more to contribute at that meeting than I had originally planned on.  With any luck, Chip PC will be in attendance and we can discuss some things.

The thin client:  Chip PC Xtreme PC NG-6600 (model: EX6600N, part number: CPN04209).

Specs:

  • RMI – Alchemy Au 1550, 500MHz RISC processor (equivalent to 1.2GHz x86 TC processors)
  • 128MB DDR RAM
  • 64MB Disk-On-Chip with TFS
  • 128-bit 3D graphics acceleration engine with separate 2x8MB display memory SDRAM
  • Dual DVI ports each supporting 19201200 16-bit color.  Supports quad displays up to 1024768
  • Audio I/O
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • 10/100 Ethernet NIC
  • Power draw:  3.5W work mode, .35W sleep mode
  • OS:  Enhanced Microsoft Windows CE (6.00 R2 Professional)
  • Integrated applications (Plugins – note plugins are downloaded at no charge from the Chip PC website and are not, by default, embedded or included with the thin client – just enough OS concept)
    • Citrix ICA
    • RDP 5.2 and 6
    • Internet Explorer 6.0
    • VDM Client
    • VDI Client
    • Media Player
    • VPN Client
    • Ultra VNC
    • Pericom (Team Talk) Terminal Emulation
    • LPD Printer
    • ELO Touch Screen
  • Compatibility
    • Citrix WinFrame, MetaFrame, and Presentation Server 4.5
    • MS Windows Server 2000/2003
    • MS Windows NT 4.0 – TS Edition
    • VMware Virtual Desktop Interface using RDP
  • Full support of both local and network printers:  LPD, LPR, SMB, LPT, USB, COM
  • Support for USB mass storage (thumb drives – deal breaker for me)
  • Support for wireless USB NIC (not included)
  • etc. etc. etc.

DSC00474

Truth be told, this isn’t really a promotion in the sense that I had already performed extensive testing on it.  I hadn’t even taken the thing out of the box yet other than to register it for the extended warranty.  I’ve had only a little experience on these devices as I have an identical unit in the lab at work which I’ve spent a total of 30 minutes on.  To the best of my knowledge, this is the Cadillac unit from Chip PC.

I don’t have any fancy VDI brokering solutions here in the home lab and I’m not up to speed on VMware View so the plan is to leverage Thin Client -> RDP -> Windows XP desktop on VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.5.

I think this is going to be a good test.  A trial by fire of VDI (granted, a fairly simple variation).  I spout a lot about the goodness that is VMware and now I’ll be eating some of my own dog food from the desktop workspace.  I’m a power user.  I’ve got my standard set of applications that I use on a regular basis and I’ve got a few hardware devices such as a flatbed scanner, iPod Shuffle, USB thumb drives, digital cameras, etc.  I should know within a short period of time whether or not this will be a viable solution for the short term.  Also add to the mix my wife’s career.  She uses our home computer to access her servers at work on a fairly regular basis.  Lastly, my wife sometimes works from home while I’m away at the office or traveling.  It’s going to be critical that this solution stays up and running and continues to be viable for my wife while I’m remote and not able to provide computer support.

So where am I at now?  I’ve got the VDI session patched along with my most critical applications installed to get me by in the short term:  Quicken, SnagIt, network printer, and Citrix clients.  I’ll install MS Office later but for now I can use the published application version of Office on my virtualized Citrix servers.  I’ve been listening some Electro House on www.di.fm on the VDI and music quality is as good as it was on my PC before it died, although it doesn’t completely drive my 5.1 surround in the den.  Pretty sure I’m getting 2.1 right now.  Oh well, at least the sub is thumpin.  Shhhh… the thin client is sleeping:

DSC00478

So what else?  As long as I’m throwing caution to the wind, I think it’s time to take the training wheels off VMware DPM (Distributed Power Management) and see what happens in a two node cluster.

2-15-2009 10-53-10 PM

Based on the environment below, what do you think will happen?  CPU load is very low, however, memory utilization is close to being over committed in a one host scenario. Will DPM kick in?

2-15-2009 10-53-59 PM

Most of my infrastructure at home is virtual including all components involving internet access both incoming and outgoing.  If the blog becomes unavailable for a while in the near future, I’ll give you one guess as to what happened.  :)

No matter what the outcome, vmwarenews.de aka Roman Haug – you are no longer welcomed to republish my blog articles.  Albeit flattering, the fact that you have not even so much as asked in the first place has officially pissed me off.  You publish my content as if it were your own, written by you as indicated by the “by Roman” header preceeding each duplicated post.  Please remove my content from your site and refrain from syndicating my content going forward.  Thank you in advance.

Update: Roman Haug has offered an apology and I believe we have reached an understanding.  Thank you Roman!